SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2009

CLARK MAGAZINE – SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2009

WHAT WERE YOUR FIRST MOTIVATIONS BEFORE FASHION? 

I WANTED TO BE AN ARTIST BUT I DIDN'T HAVE THE BALLS, AND BECAME A DESIGNER INSTEAD. NOW I WONDER IF IT DOESN'T TAKE MORE BALLS TO BE A DESIGNER. CONSIDER THIS: A DESIGNER MUST PRESENT COLLECTIONS 4 TIMES A YEAR AND BE JUDGED ON THE BASIS OF RELEVANCE TO THE MOMENT AND COMMERCIAL VIABILITY. AND BY RELEVANT, I MEAN SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN'T EXPLAIN, BUT ELICITS AN EMOTIONAL RESPONSE IN ENOUGH PEOPLE TO KEEP YOU IN BUSINESS. TO MY EYE, A LOT OF CONTEMPORARY ART I'M SEEING THESE DAYS SEEMS TO RELY ON ARCH SOCIAL COMMENTARY, SARCASM OR CONFRONTATION. I MIGHT HAVE BEEN INTIMIDATED IN MY YOUTH BY THE CEREMONY AND WORSHIPFUL PACE IN THE ART WORLD BUT I'M A BIT SKEPTICAL NOW. BUT I COULD JUST BE BLOWING SMOKE OUT MY ASS. I USED TO DISAPPROVE OF JEFF KOONS, BUT I JUST SAW HIS SHOW IN LONDON AND FELL IN LOVE. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. SO I'M PROBABLY JUST FULL OF SHIT. 

DO YOU CONSIDER FASHION LIKE A GAME? 

WELL, I SUPPOSE I CONSIDER LIFE A GAME. 

DOES FASHION HAVE RULES OR LAWS? 

YES. THE RULES ARE TO LAUGH AT THE RULES. 

YOUR IMAGINATION MIXES GLAMOUR/POST-GOTHIC AND GRUNGE STYLE. ARE YOU ALSO INSPIRED BY THE STREETS? 

WELL, I'M NOT ON THE STREETS THE WAY I USED TO BE. BUT MAYBE THE FIRST THIRD OF MY LIFE WAS ABOUT EXPERIMENTATION, AND THIS THIRD IS ABOUT ANALYZING AND EDITING AND EXPRESSING THOSE SOUVENIRS. I'M RESERVING THE LAST THIRD FOR COMPLETE DISSIPATION. 

WHAT HAS MISERY THAT YOU HAVE SEEN IN THE STREETS TAUGHT YOU? 

GRATITUDE. 

WHAT HAS THE GLAMOUROUS SIDE TAUGHT YOU? 

THE PLEASURE OF BEAUTY IS ONE OF LIFE'S GREATEST REWARDS. 

YOU MUST TRAVEL A LOT. ESPECIALLY BETWEEN L.A. AND PARIS, WE GUESS. HOW DO THOSE 2 CITIES INSPIRE YOU? 

I HAVEN'T BEEN TO L.A. FOR 7 YEARS. I'VE BEEN ABLE TO REDUCE ITS MEMORY TO A FEELING OF INTERMINABLE INDESTRUCTIBILITY IN THE SUN. OF COURSE, I'M WRONG. 

IS YOUR INSPIRATION ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE WEAR EVERY DAY, OR WHAT PEOPLE EXPERIENCE IN THEIR DREAMS? 

I WANTED TO CORRUPT WHAT PEOPLE WORE EVERY DAY INSTEAD OF CREATING DRAMATIC CLOTHES FOR JUST A MOMENT OF DISPLAY. I WANTED TO TALK TO THAT PART IN ALL OF US THAT WONDERS WHAT IT WOULD FEEL LIKE TO JUST LET GO, JUST LET EVERYTHING FALL APART. 

WHAT WORKS OF MUSIC AND MOVIES HAVE INFLUENCED YOU? 

1. THE IDIOT- IGGY POP
2. SALOME - RICHARD STRAUSS
3. PINK FLAMINGOS - JOHN WATERS
4. CLEOPATRA - CECIL B. DEMILLE

YOU ARE CONSIDERED AN AVANT-GARDE PERSON. WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THIS? 

I'M NOT DOING ANYTHING NEW. I'M JUST REARRANGING CODES THAT OUR GENERATION RECOGNIZES AND RELATES TO. BUT I'M TRYING TO DO IT IN A NO-BULLSHIT WAY. SOMETIMES I HIT, SOMETIMES I MISS. 

YOU DESIGNED FURS FOR REVILLON BUT, SINCE ENDING THAT, YOU ARE NOT SHOWING MUCH FUR IN YOUR COLLECTIONS. 

I DON'T THINK YOU KNOW VERY MUCH ABOUT ME. I PUT FUR IN EVERY FALL COLLECTION, MEN'S AND WOMEN'S. AND I HAVE A LABEL THAT'S EXCLUSIVELY FUR, CALLED PALAIS ROYAL, THAT I PRODUCE IN A FUR ATELIER IN MY HOUSE. 

YOU DON’T CREATE A LOT OF ACCESSORIES FOR MEN, EVEN THOUGH OTHER DESIGNERS DO. 

UH, I INVITE YOU TO GO TO MY STORES. 

HOW COULD YOU DESCRIBE RICK OWENS’S MENS? 

EILEEN GREY AND JOSEPH BEUYS OPEN A LEATHER BAR TOGETHER AND INVITE KISS OVER. 

YOU DON’T USE COLORS. WHEN YOU USE WHITE, IT’S ALWAYS “DARKER” AND “COLDER” THAN YOUR BLACK CLOTHES. YOUR BLACK CREATIONS ARE MORE GENEROUS IN THE DESIGN. COULD YOU EXPLAIN THIS CHOICE? 

I'VE ALWAYS ENJOYED A HARD, UNSENTIMENTAL CHIC BORDERING ON THE PERVERSE. MAYBE BECAUSE I HAVE NO PATIENCE FOR INDULGING IN EMOTION, INCLUDING MY OWN. BUT I KNOW THAT SUPPRESSED EMOTION COMES THROUGH IN MY CLOTHES. AND I'M FINE WITH THAT. I'M FINE WITH BEING TRANSPARENT. I'M FINE WITH ADMITTING THAT I'M A HYPOCRITICAL FOOL. WE ALL ARE. 

WHAT WILL FASHION LOOK LIKE IN 2030? WHAT WILL RICK OWENS CLOTHES LOOK LIKE? 

I WOULDN'T PRESUME TO PREDICT. IT HAS TO RELATE TO THE MOMENT. 

ANY LAST WORDS TO OUR READERS? 

PLEASE KEEP AN OPEN HEART, AND I WISH EVERYONE THE BEST.